Yoga for Runners

Attention all runners out there – these yoga poses are directed specifically at you!

If you are a keen runner, the chances are your lower body has taken an absolute hammering and you might summer from all sorts of aches and pains. Release and stretch tight hamstrings, ease lower back pain and tension in the hips with these 9 simple stretches that you can do anywhere, ideally directly after your running session.

My top yoga poses for running

yoga for runners

1. Low Lunge

From down facing dog (below) exhale and step your right foot forward between your hands, aligning the right knee over the heel. Then lower your left knee to the floor and, keeping the right knee fixed in place, slide the left back until you feel a comfortable stretch in the left front thigh and groin. Turn the top of your left foot to the floor. Stay here for 10 breaths. Repeat other side.

2. Half Splits

Come to your hands and knees, step your right foot forward between your hands. Left knee should remain on the ground with the top of the left foot on the ground. Flex your right foot, coming up onto the heel and extending your toes back toward you, and begin to straighten your right leg as much as you comfortably can. Keep your hips square and stacked over your left knee. Inhale to lengthen your spine, and as you exhale, begin to fold over your right leg. Keep drawing your right heel back while reaching your chest forward, and draw your shoulder blades down your back and away from your ears. Stay here for 10 breaths, then repeat other side.

3. Down Facing Dog

Come to your hands and knees, Hands slightly forwards of your shoulders, knees under hips. Exhale to tuck your tone and lift knees away from the floor, pushing your sit bones high towards the ceiling and creating an upside down V-shape.  Heels may or may not come to the ground, feel free to take a slight bend in the knees if the stretch is too much. Head should hang loosely, crown towards the ground. Now push your head through your arms, whilst pressing evenly through the palms to of your hands.  You should rotate your shoulders outwards to create space between the shoulder blades, broadening your back, wrapping your lateral muscles around your ribcage for stability. Feel free to pedal the feet to ease off tight hamstrings.  Aim to stay in this pose for at least 10 breaths.

4. Wide Leg Forward Fold

Take the feet out wide, long sides of the feet should be parallel to the short edges of your mat.  Press evenly through all four corners of the feet. Inhale to lift the arms up above the head, lengthening the spine and reaching through the crown to gain space between the vertebrae. Exhale to to swan dive forwards, hinging at the hips whilst keeping length in the spine, brining the crown of the head towards the ground letting the neck hang long and loose.  Arms can relax, hanging loose with elbows bent, hands can rest to ground.  Aim to bring the crown of the head eventually to the floor. Stay here for around 10 breaths.

5. Side Flank Stretch

Stand upright in Tadasana, feet hip distance apart. Step the left leg slightly in front, keeping the hips square and level. Lift the toes up and flex back towards you. Take a small ben in the right knee and inhale to lift the arms up above the head, lengthening the spine and reaching through the crown to gain space between the vertebrae. Exhale as you fold over the left leg, hinging at the hips whilst keeping length in the spine, bringing the chest towards the left thigh, before dropping the crown of the head towards the left knee. Place the hands on the ground. Stay here for 10 breaths.  Inhale to lift back to standing, then repeat on the other leg.

6. Pigeon Pose

Come to your hands and knees.  Bring the right leg in front of you bending at the knee and placing its down on the ground at a 45 degree angle towards the right, front, corner of the mat.  Slide the left leg backwards as far as you can go, toes untucked. Make sure the hips remain left and square the front of the mat.  The aim is to get the right bum cheek to the floor and the left hip should rest on top of your right heal.  Use blocks as required. If you are comfortable stay here. If you would like to increase the intensity of the stretch allow the body to fold forwards towards the ground in front until you are completely flat on the ground.  Stay here for 10 breaths, then repeat on the other side.

7. Supine Abdominal Twist

Lay flat on your mat.  Take your arms out to the side in a ‘T’ shaped position, palms facing down. Inhale to lift the legs together bending at the knees 90 degrees. Exhale to drop the legs over the left side of the body. Shoulders remain flat to the ground. Inhale to turn the head so that you look at the back of the right hand. Stay here for 10 breaths.  Inhale to lift the head and legs back to the centre. Repeat on the other side.

8. Standing Splits

Stand upright in Tadasana, feet hip distance apart. Inhale to lift the arms up above the head, lengthening the spine and reaching through the crown to gain space between the vertebrae. Exhale to to swan dive forwards, hinging at the hips whilst keeping length in the spine, bringing the chest towards the thighs, before dropping the crown of the head towards the ground letting the neck hang long and loose. Place the hands on the ground in front of your feet. Inhale as you lift the left leg back and upwards into standing splits. Stay here for 10 breaths. Exhale to lower the leg back down to the floor and repeat on the other leg.

9. Twisted Forward Fold

Stand upright in Tadasana, feet hip distance apart. Inhale to lift the arms up above the head, lengthening the spine and reaching through the crown to gain space between the vertebrae. Exhale to to swan dive forwards, hinging at the hips whilst keeping length in the spine, bringing the chest towards the thighs, before dropping the crown of the head towards the ground letting the neck hang long and loose. Place the left hand on the floor in front of your feet, inhale to lift right arm and eye gaze up to the ceiling, twining at the hips and pushing through the left palm to gain a deeper stretch. Stay here for around 10 breaths.

Want to try one of my classes?

My yoga business Flotality runs several yoga classes, courses and workshops during the week, head over and view my timetable here. Advance booking is essential. If you can’t make a class – why not consider booking a private yoga session?

Designed specifically for your needs and ability, private sessions can be enjoyed 1 on 1 or as a group if you have friends who would like to come too and help split the cost (sometimes it works out cheaper than the public classes)!

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